The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is planning a 3-year maritime growth strategy that will be led by operators in indigenous shipping industry.
The director-general of the agency, Dr Dakuku Peterside, who disclosed this a stakeholders forum held in Lagos yesterday, noted that there was much information gap between what the agency is doing and perception by industry operators.
He said the medium term maritime growth plan running from 2016 to 2019 would be stakeholder-led, adding that the stakeholders forum marked the beginning of the maritime growth plan.
He said, “During this time, NIMASA will also embark on comprehensive structural reforms. The second aspect that needs reformation is work culture. We are working on reforming our work culture. Our performance will not be measured by how much revenue we bring to government coffers, but by how many persons are able to acquire ships and how much improvement is made in indigenous capacity.
“Today, we are in this meeting where we will decide the course of the maritime industry. We are driven by a new vision; a vision that led to the foundation of NIMASA– to promote indigenous shipping, to ensure that our ocean is clean for commercial activities. “But it appears we have derailed in our responsibility
We all need to work together, to work in common responsibility. We are in a mission to reposition the maritime sector in Nigeria, we have come not as masters but as students ready to hear from you how best we can get result.”
He said the agency, under his leadership had embarked on a number of change programmes, adding that the agency is not ignorant of the fact that it is in competition with other maritime regulatory agencies.
“We are not just regulators, we are also in competition. We know that if we don’t buckle up, there are other alternatives for you. So we want to hear from you,” he said.
The stakeholders forum attracted many industry investors and stakeholders, including oil and gas operators.
Speaking on the need for private sector-led national carrier, a lead participant at the forum, Mr Temisan Omatseye, who is a former director-general of NIMASA,
said indigenous shipowners would do better in a merger arrangement under one large shipping line in which they can work together to get national carrier shipping line status. On the Cabotage Act, he described the law as an “excellent act” needed to grow the maritime industry.
“There is no need to change the Cabotage Act. The problem is enforcement. One would check and see that since the enactment of the Act, no licence has been given to foreign vessels since Cabotage Act. This is because it is enforced. If enforced, no foreign vessel will remain in Nigerian waters,” he said.
Omatseye, who is a shipowner, noted that NIMASA still operates the structure of the defunct Nigerian Maritime Authority (NMA) noting that the original structure of the agency is not in operation yet. He called on the new management of the agency to operate the original structure intended for the agency.
“Once this is done, everything will naturally take shape in NIMASA. I will enjoin the new DG to get Alata Nzewi’s report on NIMASA and that will be helpful. There is already a plan for NIMASA,” he noted.
The forum witnessed several brief paper presentations by top officials of the agency on the activities of NIMASA, achievements and challenges faced by the agency, based on which maritime industry operators and stakeholders made suggestions for improvement, as well as asked questions and sought clarifications.
One of the paper presentations was on cabotage activities and industry capacity building by Mr Hassan El-Yakub, director at the cabotage and labour department of the agency. He posited that the agency was encouraging bare-boat charter. According to him, bare-boat charter is a business arrangement in which a foreign shipping line could chartered its vessels to indigenous indigenous shipping lines in view of the country’s cabotage laws.
He also said the agency would leverage on National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) to build capacity on manning cabotage vessels.
El-Yakub also disclosed that NIMASA was working with the national local content development board in a joint committee on local content development.